Close proximity to SA makes the tropical island a popular destination
With its stunning white beaches, dazzling sapphire seas, diverse culture, delicious cuisine, and array of exciting sporting and adventure activities, as well as offering the most romantic wedding and honeymoon settings, Mauritius offers an abundance of reasons to place it at the top of one’s dream travel destination list.
No visas are required, which takes another travel hassle out of deciding where to book your next holiday.
A tea plantation in Mauritius
The destinations selected for Best in Travel must offer travelers an outstanding experience in the year ahead: it could also be that something special is going on in these countries in the year ahead.
That is certainly the case with Mauritius, as the island will be celebrating a momentous milestone in its history – the 50th anniversary of independence.
Gearing up for this special celebration, a series of national events and activities are currently being organized to culminate in March next year.
Writer Mark Twain said, “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven was copied after Mauritius.” With that recommendation, it’s no wonder visitors from around the globe come flocking.
The island, once a haunt for pirates, is now best known as a safe haven with luxury hotels on white sand beaches with volcanic mountain backdrops. It is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, French colonial houses, botanical gardens and opportunities to spot rare birds among soaring ebony trees, walk with lions or swim with dolphins.
Mauritians, a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, are renowned for their hospitality and visitors to the islands generally rave about the service.
Luxury here is surprisingly affordable – Mauritius has some of the best value deals in the region.
Some remnants of the British colonial era remain in the Gymkhana Club, tea plantations and driving on the left, but gateaux piments and dhal puri stalls at markets, hip-wiggling sega performances and the ubiquitous dodo icon add a touch of the exotic.
The east coast is most renowned, with some of the most celebrated hotels and stretches of beautiful white sand beaches, while the flat, calm beaches of the west coast are favored by families.
The beautiful south is the island’s wilder, but perhaps more interesting, side.
Le Morne Brabant mountain in Mauritius
There are clutches of hotels in the south-east and more squeezed onto calm stretches near pounding surf and clifftop walks in the “green” south-west.
Just 20° south of the equator, Mauritius promotes itself as a year-round destination.
The peak season extends from October to April, which is hot, humid and rainy, with a slight risk of cyclones from January to March.
Winter, from May to September, is warm and dry, with fewer mosquitoes and accommodation rates that drop by 30 to 50%.
The north and west are more sheltered in winter and the east coast in summer.
The north coast can be stiflingly hot in the Mauritian summer.
The island has a microclimate so it can be raining where you are, with the sun shining five minutes away – worth bearing in mind when planning activities.
Mauritius’s pristine offshore islands can be reached by catamaran.
History has given rise to French colonial mansions, producing fresh game and artisanal rum, the exotic plants found in one of the world’s oldest botanic gardens, and colorful Indian temples and markets.
In the rustic south visit Le Morne Mountain, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was used as a refuge for runaway slaves in the 19th century.